Speed Reads

foreign wars

Japan will allow its military to fight overseas for the first time since World War II

In a contentious vote, Japan's lower house of parliament approved legislation Thursday that would allow the country to engage in foreign conflicts again. Following World War II, Japan had sworn off entering overseas wars unless attacked, but China's growing power and the beheading of two Japanese hostages by ISIS earlier this year changed the calculus, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said. On Thursday, thousands of protesters gathered outside parliament to express their dissatisfaction (photos, below), and opposition lawmakers went as far as to walk out of the vote. The law is opposed by a ratio of roughly two to one Japanese voters, and there is speculation that it could oust Abe as Japan's leader. Jeva Lange

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